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Why Do People Talk About Your Business?

I have to admit, I’m a huge fan of Andy Sernovitz.

If you don’t know Andy, he’s the author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking and, in my opinion, a word of mouth marketing expert.

What I love about Andy’s approach is it’s all very simple. In his book he says:

People love to talk.

People talk about products and services. People talk about hair color, cars, computers, sandwiches, TV shows, and floor cleaner. The stuff they use every day.

People are talking about you and what you sell right now.

…So you have only two choices: let people talk about you, spread rumors, and get it wrong; or join in, participate, and make it work for you.

Then he spends the rest of the book telling you how.

As I said, I love Andy’s work. So when I found this video of him YouTube talking about the 3 reasons people talk about you, I had to share it. Take a watch, it’s only a minute long:

So how to do you nurture word of mouth marketing with your business or blog?

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Comments

  1. I like to think that I nurture word of mouth by doing quality work and providing a level of service that you can’t get anywhere else. Almost 100% of our business in the last 2 years has been referral based.

  2. Word of mouth works both ways. It is devastating when it is negative. We can see it on the web what poor customer service or a scam or a rip off can do to a web marketer. In real life too anything negative about your company or your product travels faster than the good news about you. All the more reason to pay more attention to not getting negative lip than working towards getting good lip. The good follows automatically if there is no bad.

  3. This is so true. Word of mouth advertising is absolutely the finest marketing approach any business could ask for. Whether the business is local or worldwide… branding to become a household name should essentially be every business’ goal!

  4. hoteluri in bucuresti says:

    yes, indeed, the word of mouth marketing can have two opposite blades. but i ‘really can’t understand why companies and marketers like andy struggle so much to build a positive word of mouth image instead building and improving the products you provide. improving them will automatically get you word of mouth “links”, don’t you think ?

  5. He may be a genius b/c of WOM, but I’m a huge fan because he had the stones to put his interview with Ali G up on his YouTube:

  6. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work says:

    Andy’s work is great — we had the pleasure of seeing him live at SOBCon07, and he was a treat. He also gave everyone a signed copy of his book, which I thought was immensely generous. It sure made him stand out in my mind.

    Hmm… generosity linked to WOM? ;-)

  7. Word of mouth publicity is not gone after. You simply provide or not provide top class product and/or service. Customers do the rest. If your sole purpose of being in business is to get and keep a satisfied customer, you will do everything possible to achieve this and your customer will do your word of mouth publicity for you. He will also bad mouth you if you do not satisfy him.

  8. yeah Andy work is great. Although they are many people talk bad about you in social, may be you could take it as a advertising about your company right?

  9. home recording,
    It sure does. And that’s another reason businesses need to be blogging. As Andy says, people are talking about you already. They can either get it wrong or you can help them get it right.

    Rick,
    I agree. Just think about it for yourself. How many products have you looked at buying just because someone’s had a great experience with it?

    Communicatrix,
    I haven’t heard ‘stones’ in a while. Thanks for the chuckle. Anyone who hasn’t seen Andy on the Ali G show, should.

    Andy,
    That’s exactly how I do business as well. Do you do anything else to market yourself?

    hoteluri,
    Maybe. It all depends whether you’re talking about web links or business. With the web, sure make a better product. Yet in business I think many people forget how important the relationship is. Perception is what drives WOM.

    Thoughts?

    Amish OF,
    No, it’s not ‘gone after.’ Rather, it’s nurtured – just as relationships are nurtured. It’s been my experience that often people need to know that they have permission to talk about you – and they need to know how. Any reason you can think of not to help them?

    Adam,
    We were there together. His talk was inspiring. Made me want to hear what people have to say about my business.

  10. Thanks for your kind words, everyone. Dawud – you’re way too cool!

    My favorite comment is from (the other) Andy: “I like to think that I nurture word of mouth by doing quality work and providing a level of service that you can’t get anywhere else.”

    That’s what it’s all about.

  11. Andy,
    Certainly. I’ve gained tons from your book (and your blog). Thanks for putting out there.

    I think that many small businesses owner miss huge opportunities with WOM because they simply aren’t thinking about it – hence, the don’t nurture the relationships in that way.

  12. Nice post and good comments. I am reminded of two things I have posted on before (sorry but my mind now often finds it easiest to think of past posts as my way of “talking”).

    It is actually possible to encourage customers to talk about you and get excited about you Seth Godin often talks about this. Also Lego Mindstorms made conscience decisions to create such a community of advocates.

    Also this comment by Guy Kawasaki’s comment on hiring in the Silicon Valley fits very well in a similar vein – “the key to getting great people to work for you is to have a great product. That is why Google does so well. That is why Apple does so well.”

  13. John,
    Right on! Most people don’t just want a job. Rather they want to be a part of something great.

  14. People’s mouth can cause everything, same also people mouth can affect everything. People will talk in both whether they satisfied the product they had bought or they not satisfied with it. We should always keep our product good in quality.

  15. Very nice video.
    Word of mouth publicity is the best and does not involve any cost too. But one just needs to be sure that it is going in the right direction, that is doing good to the product rather than harm.

  16. I think one of the neat things is, even if people “get your message wrong”, they are still talking about you, which is better than if they were talking about something else.

  17. Skateboard says:

    Thanks for good article!

  18. well…word of mouth is free, but negative word of mouth detrimental to your business good yield, and we difficult to stop it this virtual social.

  19. Laser Hair Removal says:

    I totally agree with Scott Fusco, positive or negative at least people are talking about you. And sometimes even negative publicity works wonders.

  20. Word of mouth, isn’t viral marketing just a fancier (or less fancy depending upon how you look at it) name for the same thing?

  21. Thanks for the great post. Anyone know where I can find the rest of the movie? It looked like a longer presentation but only had a short clip.

  22. Cricket Videos says:

    Even if it is negative, your word is still getting out their. This has to do with “image” and even good or negative words can’t change a strong persons image. Negative though may alter a weak persons image of your business and lead to no customer, but it likely won’t. Will lead to more customers overall.

  23. Great video and post. Never really though about how Google became a giant without really marketing. Thats amazing

  24. Jim,
    Certainly…same goes for our services.

    Laser,
    There is a cost…time.

    Scott,
    Certainly. But why not help them get it right?

    My Forex,
    It can be. Yet there are many ways to turn a negative into a positive. Which is why I recommend business owners watch what others are saying about them – and respond.

    Laser,
    It can be, though not always. Word of mouth marketing doesn’t have to ‘go viral’ to be effective. Not does it need too. The most powerful form of marketing their is is when you hear about something directly from someone you know and trust. That’s word of mouth. Viral is when the message spreads rapidly on it’s own accord.

    Michael,
    I can’t find it either. I can ask Andy.

    Cricket,
    I think that’s true if the spread is less personal – like viral. But when the negative comes from a close friend, are you likely to buy that product or use that service?

    Dallas,
    It is amazing. What they did was do what they do better than anyone – and they still do it.

  25. Words marketing really does the works. it can manipulate people mind of thinking. Easies and most stable way of advertising.

  26. NsaneNoob,
    Words marketing? Could you say more?

  27. word of mouth definitely is the best way to promote a product. but as a proverb say “good news travel fast, bad news travel faster”. gota make sure everything is at its best before using such method!

  28. Veggieplaza - Online cruelty free shopping for Vegetarians and Vegans says:

    Great post. I read the Purple Cow recently which talks about the same issue. I totally believe in word-of-mouth marketing now. Just not sure how to get it working for my business. :)

  29. Anime,
    Yes, and negative word of mouth does have opportunities in it. Remember, as a business owner, you’re part of the conversation too. How you respond to negative reviews can say a lot to prospective customers.

    Veggieplaza,
    Keep paying attention to my blog. I’m going to spend more and more time writing about what I call relationship business – which is growing relationships that have potential, mutually beneficial business opportunities.

  30. Nice post. Thanks for the reminder. Word of mouth marketing is so important…it’s just hard to come up with things that get people talking.

  31. Mike,
    You’re welcome. I think it is harder today – with so much coming at people. That’s why it’s important to set yourself apart in some way from others who do similar work.

  32. So often we tend to view “viral marketing” as a strictly on-line affair… Create some “link bait” and watch the traffic pile in. We could all stand to remember that word-of-mouth advertising is the original form of viral marketing! :)

  33. Promotional Pens,
    Absolutely. And the relationship is so much more powerful a marketing tool than link bait in the first place. Sales are more important than traffic.

  34. Andy makes a great point!

    When you have a great brand, you can accelerate word-of-mouth marketing by systematizing referral processes (using refer-a-friend programs, social bookmarking, social networks, etc.)

    Sometimes loyal clients (or readers) need a little nudge to tell other people about you. That’s where marketing comes in… Package your message in such a way that people feel compelled to share it. But be authentic!

    My two most-effective copywriting strategies for getting people talking are (1) empathy/rapport (Dawud, you’ve mastered this!) and (2) “butting into” the conversation already going on in people’s heads.

  35. Jake,
    I think it’s more than sometimes that clients need a nudge. I think that happens more often than not. There seems to be a permission thing that always comes up. Do you run into that…where people don’t feel like they have permission to gush about the great work you did for them?

    And, thanks for your kind remarks.

  36. Generating this kind of attention requires significant time and effort — it is not free.

    Before you invest heavily into this marketing technique, you need to evaluate where it will work for YOUR business.

    This technique works amazingly well in some niches, but is a complete waste of time in other industries.

    Look before you leap. :)

  37. Mercenary Business - Shadow Company says:

    As far as word of mouth goes, I think that it’s always a good rule just to ask your customers or readers to spread the word. This usually only works if you have some kind of at least semi-personal relationship, but roughly half the time if I’ve corresponded with someone and say at the end “by the way, if you like my blog feel free to send it on to your friends” – they do.

  38. Entrepreneur,
    What you say is true. And there are tons of small businesses and solopreneurs who have more time then money. Which means they have the right currency to invest.

    I’ve also seen WOM marketing work in almost any industry – with the exception of manufacturing – though I currently have a client who has a manufacturing wing of their business and we’re considering B2B word of mouth.

    Where have you seen WOM marketing not work?

    Mercenary Business,
    Sure it works then. And it works for organically when you do something extraordinary and unexpected for your clients. Doesn’t have to be much. It just needs to make an impact.

    I’ve found that people want to help other people so they want to find things to talk about that they feel are beneficial or remarkable to people they know.

  39. I love ideas about word of mouth marketing on the web. It is so powerful.
    You can see how devastating it can be if a negative review appears when you search for a brand name of a product.
    Based on this I’ve just started to run the http://ripoffforum.org a place where you can share your thoughts on a shoddy products or poor service and warn other people.

  40. Frank,
    Negative reviews can be devastating. And they can provide an opportunity as well. It can give you a chance to respond and show a positive side to how you deal with negativity. This can be very powerful in WOM.

  41. Nice post! People will talk in both whether they satisfied the product they had bought or they not satisfied with it.

  42. Discount Tire Company says:

    Great post, thanks.

  43. Great post. It is very informative and useful. Thanks. Keep it up.

  44. Furnace Repair Buffalo NY says:

    Referrals are easily the number one way we get business. This really drives home the point that it is soo important to do a great job at any site in order to get a good referral from that customer.

  45. very interesting. true too. word of mouth is gonna happen no matter what.

  46. Andy’s work is really good and I think all businesses should try to leverage word of mouth and embrace it

  47. Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising. When you hear about a product from a friend or someone whos opinion you trust you are more likely to make a purchase than if you had just seen it in an advertisement.

  48. Earn Extra Cash says:

    To leverage on positive word of moutn, i think a business has to be well establish on their basic business fundamentals like service and product qualities, comsumer benefits an etc. So that it will manifest good branding and W.O.M will be automated.

  49. Patient Services says:

    Andy Sernovitz’s books tell us a lot about human nature and people’s talking ways. i got many things from his books.

  50. Hey very cool web site!! Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds also…I am happy to find so many useful information here in the post, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Why Do People Talk About Your Business? » This Summary is from an article posted at Dawud Miracle @ dmiracle.com – on Thursday, October 04, [...]

  2. Some kind words from friends…

    I’m grateful for a few recent blog posts about me that were very nice indeed: Dawud Miracle: Why do people talk about your business? Valerie Frazee at Marketing Profs: Marketing is easy Meghann Wooster: Three lessons of love And this…

  3. [...] long as we’re talking about Dawud, he posted a great video about word of mouth marketing last [...]

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